Sunday, June 15, 2014

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 4 rockets toward Ashqelon: 2 are intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense batteries and 2 hit open areas causing no damage or injuries. In response, the IDF launches air strikes on 5 military targets in the n. and s. Gaza Strip, wounding 3. The IDF says Islamic Jihad is responsible for the rocket fire. In the West Bank, gunmen open fire on an Israeli military post nr. Bethlehem, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and Dayr al-‘Arund r.c. and 3 nearby villages, Nablus and 1 nearby village, Jenin and 1 village nearby, 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, Tulkarm, and 1 nearby village, 1 village nr. Salfit; patrols in 2 villages nr. Hebron and 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, 2 villages nr. Hebron and 1 village each nr. Ramallah and Salfit in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Jericho. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles nr. Salfit, causing no injuries. Separately, settlers throw stones at cars nr. Nablus, causing damage and 1 injury. (HA, JP, MNA 6/15; PCHR 6/19)

Israeli PM Netanyahu reiterates the accusation that Hamas was behind the suspected kidnapping and that the PA is responsible for the fate of the teenagers. U.S. Secy. of State Kerry condemns what he calls a “despicable terrorist act” and says “many indications point to Hamas’s involvement.” The IDF detains dozens more in the West Bank, including parliament speaker ‘Aziz Dwayk, with an estimated 150 Palestinians arrested so far during OBK. Israel’s Coordinator of Govt. Activities in the Territories Yoav Mordechai tells the media that the IDF is not coordinating with PA security forces in the search, and believes Hamas is behind the kidnapping. IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz tells senior officers that “we’re heading towards an extensive operation.” He says the objective is to “find the 3 teens, bring them home, hit Hamas as hard as possible and move forward.” The Executive Comm. of the PLO meets in Ramallah and issues a statement condemning the campaign in the West Bank, while PA spokesperson Ehab Bseiso says that the PA condemns Israel’s “collective punishment of the Palestinian people.” (AFP, HA, JP, MNA, WAFA, YA 6/15)